PCS Fort Benning
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Moving Tips

Great tips for keeping your move organized and as stress free as possible.

Moving Preparation Timeline

6-8 Weeks Before Your Move

  • This is the time to start strategically planning your move, step-by-step, to alleviate the stress of last minute packing.
  • Create a room where you can begin to store and organize packing supplies and other items that will assist you in your move. Group boxes by size so you will not have to fumble through heavy piles when packing your things.
  • Now is the time to make travel arrangements for you and your family. Whether it be renting a car, scheduling a flight or reserving a hotel room, book it at a time that will give you flexibility in case anything goes awry.
  • Contact your insurance agent to transfer medical, property, fire and auto insurance. Return anything you have borrowed from nearby friends or relatives and make sure to ask for your things back.
  • Compile a list of phone numbers and addresses so that once you have moved in to your new home you will be able to easily access this information without the hassle of searching through the phone directory.
  • Create a designated folder for moving related expenses where you can file all receipts. This will come in handy as many moving expenses are tax deductible.
  • Obtain an IRS Change of Address form, Form 8822, by calling (800) 829-1040 or visiting the IRS website at www.irs.gov. You will be able to download and print form 8822 and most other IRS tax forms; e.g., Form 3903 to help deduct moving expenses.
  • Notify schools in the old and new location and arrange for the transfer of school records and begin the process of registering in new schools.
  • Collect all medical, dental and school records to ensure you do not forget to obtain them at a later date. Keep these in a safe place.
  • Contemplate holding a garage sale at least two weeks prior to your move; this will help you save space while earning some extra. cash on the side.

4-5 Weeks Before You Move

  • Contact or visit your local Post Office to obtain a Change of Address form. You can also obtain this form online at the postal service website by visiting www.usps.com
  • Give a change of address to the following:
    • Banks
    • Schools
    • Friends & family
    • Insurance company
    • Doctors & specialists
    • Cellular phone company
    • Credit card companies
    • Subscriptions (Magazine, newspaper, etc.)
  • By this point you should have already hired a mover and received an estimate. Check with your mover to confirm that all the details of the move are set. If you are packing on your own, make the proper arrangements and get the right supplies.
  • Make the arrangements to connect and disconnect your cable, internet, electric and any other services you currently use. Dealing with this at an earlier date will prevent any date and time conflicts you may incur.
  • You may have to switch banks because your current bank branches may be sparse in your new town. Investigate the popular banks in the area you will be living in so that you can close and open new bank accounts as needed.
  • Check what the requirements are to receive a new driver's license and complete auto registration at your new motor vehicle location.
  • If you will be making an international move, make sure your passport is up to date and has not expired. Passports generally take 3 weeks to process.

3 Weeks before Your Move

  • It is now time to make final arrangements for transporting your car if you plan on doing so. If you are traveling by car, check to make sure your vehicle is in good shape for the trip.
  • Investigate your secret hiding spots to search for any forgotten items. Collect valuable items such as jewelry or heirlooms and keep them separate from the rest of your packed belongings so that you do not leave them behind.
  • Return any borrowed items, such as library books, and collect any clothing that you may have taken to be dry cleaned.
  • Begin cleaning the various rooms in your house that have been emptied, such as closets, basements or attics to prepare for the new residents and to make sure you did not leave anything unpacked.
  • Do you or your family members take any medications? If so, locate pharmacies in your new town that you can transfer prescriptions over to.

2 Weeks before Your Move

  • At this point you should have a good sense of what items you will not be taking with you. This is a good time to organize a garage sale to earn some cash on the side from your unwanted belongings. You should also consider donating old clothing to a local charity or shelter - if you do, you may be eligible for a tax deduction.
  • Resume packing any items you have not had a chance to pack yet. Your final week at home has the potential to be very stressful and you should prevent pushing things off until the last minute.
  • Think about quick and easy meals you can prepare for your family while utilizing the remaining food in your refrigerator so that it does not go to waste.
  • Make sure all scheduled deliveries (newspaper, groceries, etc.) have been canceled or redirected to your new home.
  • Empty all lockers at school, work or at your gym.

1 Week before Your Move

  • Before you move, mow your lawn one last time. Especially if your home will not be unoccupied after your departure.
  • Mark any unmarked boxes as "Fragile," "Do not load," or "Load last" if you have not yet done so.
  • if you are not going directly to your new home, ensure that your movers have an address or phone number to contact you at in the event that something goes wrong.
  • empty, clean and defrost your refrigerator/freezer during this final week and use baking soda to rid it of any foul odors.
  • Put together a moving day survival kit with items you will need for the trip and immediately when you arrive at your new home. These items include toilet paper, snacks, bottled water, dishes, toiletries, towels, etc.
  • Notify the police in your town if your home will be uninhabited for a long period of time.

Kids and Relocation moving kid

Your family's move can be an exciting time for your children and for you. It can also be a stressful and sad time. Your child may have different feelings about your family's move: scared about going to a new school, excited about your new home, sad about leaving old friends or angry with you about moving.

Every year, one out of five American families move. One of the most important issues to anyone with kids is their reaction to the news that they're moving, and their adjustment to the new home. Being informed is very important to children. One of the worst mistakes we can make as adults is to assume that kids don't care or won't understand the details. Keeping them "in the loop," consulting them about choices whenever possible, and including them in the family game plan will work wonders toward their adjustment.

Helping Children of Different Ages Cope with Moving

Preschool children

Kids under the age of six may worry about being left behind, or being separated from their parents. If you go on an orientation or house-hunting trip beforehand without the children, it's important to reassure kids this age that you will be back; bring something unique back to them from the new town. It's very important for them to express their feelings and fears about the move. Give them a job to do -- have them be responsible for boxing up their favorite toys, and "labeling" their boxes with crayons and stickers.

Ages 6 to 12

Elementary age kids are usually most concerned with how the everyday routines of their lives are going to change. Showing them pictures, videos and magazines of their new home will help a lot, especially if you can find new places in advance for the things they like to do. If your child takes dance lessons, find & share information about the new dance studio she can go to. If he takes karate, or plays soccer or baseball... even if her favorite thing to do is the park or the pizza parlor, find these places in your new neighborhood and get brochures, pictures or videos.


These kids are most concerned with fitting in. They may react angrily to the move, even insist they're not going. This is usually due to the total lack of control they have over everything important in their lives-friends, school & jobs--being disrupted. These children can be very worried about making new friends, and what will be different in the new school. They are curious about the clothing, hairstyles, bicycles, cars, etc. that kids in the new city will have. Pictures of all these things are very helpful, so if you take an orientation trip be sure to take many detailed photos/videos of the schools they will be attending.

Other tips for making the transition

  1. Give young children an entertaining travel kit for the move.
  2. Give older children a diary for recording the trip & move.
  3. Give children of all ages a special address book & stationary set for keeping up with old friends.
  4. Take videos of the new home of the kids won't get to see it before the move.
  5. Arrive well before the movers so kids can explore and become acquainted first.
  6. Give children a chore to do, such as working on their room (younger), supervising little siblings (middle), and painting or arranging furniture (older kids).
  7. Take a break with the family as soon as possible to explore the museums, sights and recreation in your new city.
  8. Arrange a visit to new schools and a meeting with the teacher before the actual first day of attendance.
  9. Encourage the children to bring new friends home.

Being the New Kid

What Parents Can Do To Help

Anne P. Copeland, Ph.D.; reprinted with permission from BR Anchor Publishing

Some children and teenagers love the chance to attend a new school and be the "new kid." They like feeling special and they like the fact that no one knew them when they had that awful short haircut, before they learned to read, or when they were overweight!

Other children find making the transition to a new school difficult. For them, friends are hard-won and not easily replaced. A crowd of new kids elicits shyness not excitement. These children react to this challenge as they do to many other transitions in their lives: with reluctance.

Still, there are some ways parents can help:
  1. Visit the school with your child ahead of time. Most schools will let you walk around and find the toilets, the lunchroom, the gym, etc. Ask to see the room your child will be in. If the teacher is there, it will be a nice, quiet moment to meet.
  2. Play in the school playground. Even if your children do not "make friends" immediately, they will start to understand how children there look, dress, talk, and play and the other children will begin to recognize them.
  3. Let academics take a back seat for a while. Learning occurs more easily when children feel comfortable and stable. In the early days of a new school, it may be more important for your child to make friends and learn about the school than it is to get top grades. Remember that mastering a new culture, a new language, new friendship patterns, and a new educational system are forms of learning. These may be more important life lessons than the math, science or history facts in the classroom.
  4. Help your children make friends. This is not simply so that your children will have more fun. Children who have problems with friends are more likely to have problems with school learning, problems with adults, and problems later in life. Children do not need lots of friends. Some like big groups, some like having just one close friend. What is important is that they learn to share, cooperate, be kind, and feel accepted. You may need to take the initiative and invite another child or another family to come to your home or do an activity together.
  5. Be proud of your children. Children are accomplishing many major tasks in the early days. They may be learning a new language as well as new educational goals and methods. And yet they soon acclimate academically, make friends, and play ball alongside the others. Children are resilient, flexible, and creative. They will use these skills more easily if they feel your support and pride

Childcare Checklist

Before making your decision about a child care provider, visit several facilities. The more you know, the easier your decision and the more comfortable you will feel making it. Below are questions and issues that you may want to discuss with a potential child care provider. Before an interview, print out the checklist and take it with you. If you have additional questions, add them to the list. Remember, you are the parent and you have the right to ask as many questions as you want. In addition to your interviews and instinct, listen to your child's opinions and feelings. They are equally important in your child care decision.

General Questions

  • Does the center take your needs into consideration? Is the staff accommodating and flexible?
  • What are the hours of operation?
  • How long has the facility been in business?
  • How many children is the facility licensed to provide for?
  • What is the philosophy of the center or home?
  • Does the facility allow non-toilet trained children?
  • Does the facility serve meals? Are they hot meals or snacks? Are they well balanced and nutritious?
  • Does the facility charge for sick days or when the child is on vacation? Does the provider close for holidays and if so which ones?
  • What is the facility's policy on sick children?
  • What supplies/equipment does the facility provide and what is the parent expected to provide?
  • Does the facility offer transportation? Is it safe and reliable?
  • Is your participation and involvement encouraged?

Facility Atmosphere

  • Do the children at the facility look happy?
  • Did your child feel comfortable during your visit?
  • Did she/he like the other children?
  • Does she/he think it would be fun to go there?
  • Is there a feeling of belonging at the facility?
  • Does the environment seem child-oriented?
  • Would you enjoy spending your day in this environment?
  • How is the lighting and ventilation?
  • Are safe, sanitary, hygienic conditions maintained?
  • Are there several toilets and wash facilities available and are children encouraged to wash their hands?
  • Where do children nap?
  • Is there an outdoor area that is safe to play in?
  • Is there space for running about freely for active play and still other space where quiet play may go on undisturbed, both indoors and out?

Staff/Child Interaction

  • Observe the interaction between the providers and the children - Does the staff seem happy and attentive to the children? Do they instill confidence in the children?
  • Do the children get individualized attention?
  • How does the staff physically handle the children?
  • Are the providers the kind of people you would enjoy being with outside of the facility setting?
  • How capable do the providers seem at being able to resolve conflicts between children?
  • How long has the staff been working at the facility (average tenure of staff)?
  • What is the staff-child ratio?
  • Does the classroom staff have experience and skills in child-care methods and developmental learning?
  • Are your questions, comments and visits welcome?
  • Does the center have strict procedures for hiring caregivers?
  • Are applicants interviewed by management, fingerprinted when required by state law and required to take a medical exam in compliance with state licensing regulations? Are background checks and written references mandatory?


  • What is the emphasis of the activities? To have fun? To learn? Both?
  • Are the learning programs designed for each age group?
  • Are the educational programs designed to prepare a child for primary education?
  • Do the activities emphasize physical fitness as well as mental development?
  • How big are the activity groups?
  • How noisy is it?
  • Are the activities the kind your child enjoys?
  • Are the toys used in the activities safe and appropriate for the children's ages?
  • Do the children have sufficient rest?
  • Will the children be watching television? If so, what programs and how much time each day?


  • What is the exact arrangement for payment?
  • When are the fees due?
  • Is there a charge if you pick your child up late?
  • How much notice is required for your child to leave the facility?
  • Does the facility provide financial assistance?
  • Does the facility accept government subsidies?
  • Does the facility provide receipts for income tax credits?
  • Can you take a copy of the contract home in order to study it?


  • How is the facility set up to handle emergencies?
  • What are the procedures for contacting you?
  • Is the staff CPR and First Aid certified?